What are the main core values that you structure your dynamic around?
Master Anthony: Transparency. Integrity.
slave Robin: Protecting the property, which is the relationship and each other.
How can these values be observed in your dynamic and behaviors?
Master Anthony: For myself, I try very hard to do what I say I am going to do to. To be a man of my word. To live up to what I say and that’s my integrity.
slave Robin: For me, no matter what the situation is, I too always tried to live up to being a person of my word, but also to never embarrass Master in public by my behavior or lack thereof ever. Transparency would be that if by chance I should do that, I would be the very first person to raise my hand and tell him that it has been done.
Master Anthony: We’re both transparent with each other. We talk to each other a lot about what’s going on with ourselves and with each other. When there are any problems or issues coming up, we spent a lot of time talking about that.
slave Robin: We are also very transparent with the community. You can ask me anything and I’m going to give you an honest answer. May not be an answer you like, but it’ll be an honest one.
What is the biggest benefit you get from being M/s?
Master Anthony: The biggest benefit is that I have somebody that I can be 100 percent truthful and honest with, and I don’t have to hide. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to second guess. There’s always doubts that come up because we’re human and that happens. However, when this does happen, I remind myself of who she is and who I am and forge ahead anyway. Having open, honest communication and an honest relationship removes a lot of the guesswork that I have found, in my experience, to be present in other types of relationships.
slave Robin: For me, being able to be truthful, honest, and who we are with each other gives me the feeling of belonging and normalcy; I couldn’t ask for a deeper, more fulfilling relationship than what I have.
What is the biggest challenge, in your opinion, about being M/s? How do you deal with this challenge?
Master Anthony: For me, I think the biggest challenge is being open and honest all the time.
At times, it can be very scary, and there are times when you really don’t want to talk. We’ve found the times you don’t want to talk, are the times you most have to be open and honest.
slave Robin: We’re also parents, and blended parents. When you bring the kids into the equation, the dynamic becomes a little more difficult. So, I would say having a blended family and having to deal with that is the biggest challenge for me.
Do you use protocols and rituals? If so, can you give us a couple of examples?
Master Anthony: We have a ritual that we developed to help remind us of the relationship we are in and how we choose to live our lives. Every evening before bed I offer her her collar, and ask her if she wishes to continue to be in my service. After she answers (assuming she says “yes”), I put her collar on her. In the morning, before we part for the day, we have another ritual similar to that one. I offer her her collar. During this morning ritual, we are again reminded of who we are and the type of dynamic that we’ve chosen to live in. So, we have these as a bookend to both ends of our day to help us stay in touch with that.
slave Robin: We have a protocol for when we’re uncomfortable, which is a safeword that each of us can use, which is “hold me”. This alerts the other one in any scenario, any time, anywhere that there’s an issue. We also have specific rituals regarding how our days should start, what it’s supposed to look like, the things I’m supposed to do in the morning before he goes to work. For example, I make sure his coffee is ready, the way he likes it, his breakfast is ready to go with him, and I make sure that he is prepared for work.
I also have to check in with him during the day. It grounds us both and reminds us of the dynamic that we’re in. If I should happen to miss the check in time, due to my job, the protocol is I then either have to write a love letter or take an indecent photo in the bathroom at work.
If you do use protocols and rituals, what is the main reason you have them? How do they enhance your dynamic?
Master Anthony: I want to go back and touch on the getting up in the morning protocol, which has just started because I’d gotten really used to her getting up with me in the morning. Then, one morning she didn’t get up. I started to get a little bit upset and irritated. I realized later, she didn’t even hear me get up or anything. Here I was getting all flustered and upset over nothing at all. So, we set up this protocol that it is now my responsibility to make certain she actually wakes up, and that she lets me know whether or not there’s some overwhelming reason she can’t get up that morning, but so far that hasn’t happened.
So here was this little irritant that could have started a fight, but didn’t because we just made a protocol out of it, and said “okay, this is the way it’s going to be.” And now we don’t ever have to worry about that situation again.
slave Robin: Our protocol of using a safeword to let one another know we’re distressed helps to avoid conflict and trauma; we each are able to get our needs met when they need to be met.
Do you have a contract or some kind of written document? Why or why not?
slave Robin: I don’t think we could survive without a contract. Because I’m so grounded in reality, very analytical, and I’m always the planner, I have to be able to know what this is going to look like. So, we use a contract to spell out everything. Our contract encompasses our personal health, our mental well being. It encompasses high protocol settings, low protocol settings, playtime with others, relationships with others.
Master Anthony: The contract is a living document that represents a living relationship that grows and changes. So, the document itself can grow and change as needed. Every couple years or so we add in the changes that we made, print it out, and resign it. It makes things simpler. You know what the rules are.
slave Robin: Contracts evolve over time. The one you start with today is not going to be the same one you need five years from now.
If so, what does your contract look like?
Master Anthony: As far as how our contract looks, I am very familiar with contractual language. Being familiar with it, that’s how I wrote it. It’s very cut and dry. It’s written in a very technical kind of contractual pros.
slave Robin: The reason we did that was because it holds you accountable to your word. It’s black and white. You agreed to this. You signed your name. You said these are the things you would do, and I said these are the things I would do, and we’re clear on that. There’s no question about what is supposed to be or how it’s supposed to be. If changes need to happen, that’s a different discussion, and that can become an addendum. But, you can’t say, “oh, well, I just decided to do x, y, and, z ,and figured we’d stick that in the contract later.” No, that doesn’t work.
Where do you feel is the best place for newbies to start their journey into M/s and/or into the Kink Community?
Master Anthony: Munches and social events to get to know people. Classes for education and to get to know people and network. There’s absolutely wrong with going to a dungeon by yourself. I think for the average woman in American society a dungeon is by far, for the most part, a safer place than say your neighborhood bar. Because a woman may have to say “no” to the same guys 30 times in a bar. At most, you’ll have to say “no” to some guy twice in a dungeon. And after that the guy is 86’d.
slave Robin:There’s always the protection of people who are around that are watching out for you in the dungeon. You don’t have that at a bar.
Master Anthony: There’s also nothing wrong with going to a dungeon by yourself to watch other people play because you might see something that really turns you on that looks interesting. I don’t think there’s anything at all wrong with pickup play either.
Also, don’t sit on the sidelines. Actually become a part of the community. The amount of wisdom and support and love available in the community cannot be understated.
When I first came in the community, I saw there was a common story. I always thought there was something wrong with me. That I was broken. Maybe 15 minutes into my very first munch event I realized that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. I’m perfectly normal. I just never met other people like me or at least knowingly met other people like me. That was hugely affirming for me.
I know you both are title holders. Can you please tell us more about that experience and the impact (hopefully positive) it had on your relationship?
Master Anthony: Very positive.
slave Robin: You grow in ways you can’t even imagine. You meet the most amazing people who know you’re out trying to help them and surprisingly you get so much more back than it’s possible to say. It’s really an honor to be received as the representative for your community, but it’s even more than that. It’s so fulfilling that it’s hard to put into words. For us, not only did it strengthen our dynamic, but it also made us look at our dynamic more critically and make adjustments to things that maybe might have taken longer to see.
Master Anthony: I would say for us running for the Master/slave title really allowed us to focus all of our time and all of our energy on our dynamic, on our relationship, on each other, which was fabulous.
slave Robin: I think it really boils down to you take away from it what you put in. If you don’t give it your all, you’re not going to get as much back. And just because your peers have agreed to have you represent them does not make you all knowing. There are some people who think because you have a stash or because you have a title, it means you must know everything or some people flip it and say because I have it I know everything. That’s really not true. It is an overwhelming feeling to go from being a pervert to somehow respectable. With this being said, it just depends on how you as a person choose to handle it.
What do you feel is the best way to structure honest communication in the midst of a power exchange dynamic?
slave Robin: You have to be truthful and honest. When you’re not, especially as a slave, it can be manipulative. However, it’s not always intentional. It just ends up happening that way because if a Master doesn’t have the full information, how can they make a decision on anything that’s only partly conveyed to them?
Master Anthony: We were given some very good advice by Guy Baldwin. She didn’t want to bother me with little problems that she felt she could handle all on her own. And Guy said, “Oh, so you only want to bother him with the really hard crap. You don’t want to give him little things are easy to handle?”
slave Robin: The truth is it’s hard to be transparent. It takes practice and it takes constant inward reflection. It’s not about an argument; it’s about a discussion and making sure you can have those discussions even when you don’t want to.
In your experience what helps keeps your M/s structure in tact when vanilla problems strike?
slave Robin: You have to be flexible at times. For example, since we are 24/7 when he’s sick, I can’t expect him to master me. Your have to be realistic in your expectations of the protocols you set up. It’s all wonderful in theory. But what really matters is the application of it. You have to recognize the difference between what’s romanticized and what’s not.
Master Anthony: You’re in a relationship with somebody who grows and changes as you grow and change yourself. So, the relationship grows and changes, therefore, the dynamic has to grow and change as well.
slave Robin: It comes down to working around whatever the barriers are, and putting forth the effort to maintain and make sure that the dynamic is what takes charge and stays there. He mastered me from from China. He was in China and I was in Mexico and we did our collaring ritual every single day over Skype.
In regards to having children- Can you offer some advice on how to keep your M/s lifestyle and kink lifestyle alive while having/raising kids?
slave Robin: The dynamic always has to come first and there always has to be a discussion. You have to learn to tell your children ” just a minute” or “I’ll get back to you”; it can’t be on their time schedule. It has to be on the dynamic. Otherwise, you may end up saying, “sure, you can do that” and then Master may say, “wait a minute, why’d you agree to that?” Again, you always have to put the dynamic first.
I believe that children should be empowered in any aspect they choose to be. Being truthful and honest needs to be about age appropriateness, and you also have to consider the ramifications to the children. Other children can be horrible to one another. You also have to be careful that your child isn’t telling somebody else’s child something that the other parents didn’t agree to. So, that’s why I’m a big believer in age appropriateness. Also, not everything has to be made as clear to a child. You don’t have to lie to a child, but you certainly don’t have to bring up things that they wouldn’t normally be asking either.
Master Anthony: They don’t have to know everything. Nobody wants to know how their parents have sex.
Any closing thoughts?
slave Robin: Good luck! I hope everyone is lucky enough to find what I have. I consider myself very blessed.
Master Anthony: That goes for me too.
About Master Anthony and slave Robin
Master Anthony and slave Robin began their exploration of Master/slave in 2011 after attending their first Butchmann’s experience together. Their dynamic evolved to 24/7 when they began sharing a home together along with their (combined) five children, at least one of whom is active in the Los Angeles kink community. They married in October 2013 and continued to refine their dynamic. Together, they hold both the 2016 and current 2018 Southern California Master/slave title and now travel, present, provide service to their community, and generally have a really great time!
They host the Sherman Oaks Munch in Los Angeles, which, with well over two hundred guests a month, is one of the largest monthly socials on the West Coast and an important entry point for many people brand new to the Los Angeles community.